Big Pharma Salaries

Big Pharma Salaries


As practicing physicians, we usually just see how our patients feel on drugs, better or not.  Some physicians turn their practices into a clinical trials site for extra cash.  That’s where patients are enrolled in a study that tests a drug for it’s side effects, efficacy, or safety.  But there’s more to the industry.

Jobs in pharmaceutical management for physicians are broader than you think.  The roles that physicians can work in include Research & Development, Drug Safety, Medical Science LiaisonMedical MarketingMedical Affairs. and Health Economics & Outcomes Research.


Your salary can vary depending on the kind of position you take in the pharmaceuticals industry.  For example, a Medical Science Liaison can make 130k to 170k but a Chief Medical Officer in Pharma can make 800k to millions of dollars.

Let’s see some physicians in pharmaecutical roles :

  • Dr. Michael S. Brown, Independent Director at Pfizer – $250,640
  • Dr. Bo Angelin, Director at AstraZeneca – $108,000
  • Dr. Freda C. Lewis Hall, CMO at Pfizer – $3,174,832
  • Dr. Peter S. Kim, Executive VP of Merck – $6,518,625

To succeed in this field, you’ll need experience in pharmaceutical research, clinical trials, and management.  Most companies are looking for more than 3 years of industry experience.  Some of the physicians in this field have an MBA or MMM degree.  If you don’t have any experience, you can consider getting extra education in the industry.

Drexel University offers an MBA with a concentration in Pharmaceutical Management that would be very useful.  Northeastern University offers graduate certificates in Domestic and International Pharmaceutical Regulatory Affairs.  Stevens Institute of Technology offers a graduate certificate in Pharmaceutical Technology Management.


The pharmaceuticals industry develops, produces, and markets drugs for the United States and globally.  Physicians can engage in key roles, from entry-level positions to the top of the ladder.  Salaries can range from $100,000 to over $4 million dollars.  A salary of 4 million dollars sounds obscene, but in this industry, it’s possible.


Sources, “Key Roles for Physician Executives in the Pharmaceutical Industry”
Forbes, Michael S. Brown<
Forbes, Freda C. Lewis Hall
Forbes, Bo Angelin
Forbes, Peter S. Kim
CNN Money, “10 Jobs: Big demand, good pay”

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